Muslim Voices #2

In January, Sajidah K. Ali and others started to tweet using the hashtag #MuslimShelfSpace. NBC has a good article about the beginnings of #MuslimShelfSpace if you want to know the backstory. The goal was to encourage people to share titles by Muslim authors. It was wonderful to see the many great titles people were posting. It quickly became clear that many people had few books by Muslim authors and the hashtag helped those gaps become visible. I experienced that and wrote about it here.

#MuslimShelfSpace is still in use on Twitter and now there is another activity generating additional titles. Two bloggers, Nad @scorpioreads and Zoya @AnInkyRead, have been hosting the #RamadanReadathon this month. Their introduction may be found here. The readathon is nearing the end, but the resources will remain and are very helpful if you are inclined to increase your #MuslimShelfSpace.

Pictured above are some books written by Muslim authors I’ve been enjoying this year and in the past. Do you have other titles to recommend? If so, please share them in the comments.

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Muslim Voices

At the beginning of the year, Sajidah K. Ali started the hashtag #MuslimShelfSpace. This had me searching my personal shelves. It’s interesting how something can open your eyes to a gap in a collection. I have quite a few  books by and/or about Muslim people in my school library, but not many at home. The hashtag was a fabulous way to find out about great titles I can start adding. It was wonderful to see so many people sharing and interacting through the hashtag. And then January got a lot more complicated. This past week has been difficult for many Muslim people between the discriminatory executive order in the U.S. and the horrifying attack at a mosque in Canada. Today, more than ever, we need more books with Muslim content especially those by Muslim authors.

The events of the past week have me even more determined to read and share books written by Muslim authors. There are many titles shared through the hashtag and there were also links to lists and resources:

List of fiction about Muslims by Muslims

Nine Muslim Canadian Writers You Should Read

Here’s What Muslim Women Authors Have To Say About Finding Their Voice

If you know of other helpful resources, please share them.

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Standing Behind Our Young Writers

Within days of the surprising outcome of our election, students around the country left class and took to the streets to protest against the newly elected president. Because I teach at a middle school, our students were not so inclined to protest, but the neighboring high schools did. I participated in discussions with other teachers about the protests (some supported the students, some did not) but the overall consensus was that we  were all proud of these young teens who were standing up for their rights because they felt like their future was in danger. We all agreed that these students should be encouraged to continue to express their hopes and fears about a changing world and their role in it.

Young voices that definitely need to be encouraged over the next four years are those of marginalized youth. Not only must continue to strive for more diverse and #ownvoices novels, we must encourage the next generation of writers of color to be fearless and truthful in their own writing. We must encourage them to find their voices and believe that their stories are just as valid, as important as their white counterparts. We need to help them find their truth and not be afraid of the blank page. We need to be there for them when the writing is hard, gut-wrenching, and celebrate them when they achieve their goals.

Teachers & School Librarians, we are on the front lines and the ones who can make or break a potential writer. Remember that over half of our students are of color, therefore you have the responsibility to assist a young writer in achieving their dreams. What you say, or what you don’t say, can have lasting effects. If you see one of your students has a talent for writing, encourage them to keep writing. Share with them teen publishing sites and/or encourage them to seek out after school or summer writing programs; better yet, create writing clubs of your own.

Parents, & everyone else who interacts with a young person, you have a responsibility too. You have to encourage the young writers in your lives by giving them the space to write. Help them seek out after school or summer writing programs, take them to see their favorite authors speak who, by just being in that author’s presence, will inspire your young writer to create. Most of all, however, is to give them your support. Remind them that their voice is important and needs to be heard.

Lastly, the next four years will definitely be challenging for all, but especially for marginalized peoples. Some of our kids are scared, uncertain of what the future may bring, but it is our job as the adults in the room to provide them with the support they need to overcome any challenges that come our way.

Below are just a few organizations that cater to helping young writers. If you know a young writer, share with them these organizations, become involved and/or donate. These organizations will need your support, as they encourage our youth to create, over the next four years.

WriteGirl is a LA based organization that pairs authors with teen girls.

 

826 is a national organization with with chapters in Los Angeles, New York, Boston & Chicago, to name a few, that works with students and teachers for tutoring and creative writing classes.

National Writing Project is a program that partners collage campuses with K-12 teachers in working together to improve writing. Teachers, look for a site near you.

National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) is a fun writing competition that is held every year in November, with their “summer camp” series in April and July. Nano can be done individually, or as a class (I did it with my Honors classes this year and we had fun). If a student/young writer meets their word count goal, they receive all sorts of goodies including having their book printed by CreateSpace so they have a copy of their novel.

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Activism and Self-Care

Last week was a difficult one for many in our community after the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and five Dallas police officers. There was a lot of discussion all over the YA lit sphere about #blacklivesmatter and #ownvoices and how important #CarefreeBlackKids2k16 is.

On Monday Camryn Garrett‘s article “Black Lives Matter Is the Bare Minimum” went up on MTV.com, and she was attacked over its content. Many members of the YA community rallied to her defense, which was a wonderful thing to see.

Today we’d like to share a small collection of our favorite YA books and book lists about activism/social commentary or fun/self-care that are written by black authors and/or star black protagonists.

Activism/Social Commentary
  • The Rock and the River by Kekla Magoon
  • Fire in the Streets by Kekla Magoon
  • March: Book One by John Robert Lewis and Andrew Aydin with artist Nate Powell
  • How it Went Down by Kekla Magoon
  • All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely
  • X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Kekla Magoon

Full #Kidlit4Justice Booklist

Read This: #BlackLivesMatter Reads for Teens

Social Justice and Activism in YA Lit

Campaign Zero

How to Help Online

Fun/Self Care
  • This Side of Home by Renée Watson
  • Pointe by Brandy Colbert
  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Endangered by Lamar Giles
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra
  • Love is the Drug by Alaya Dawn Johnson
  • Promise of Shadows by Justina Ireland
  • Perfect Liars by Kimberly Reid

Self-Care Books for African-Americans in the Wake of Recent Tragedies

2014 African American MG & YA Fiction

You Need These Books By Black Women on Your YA Shelves


Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments!

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Links you may find helpful

As a bi-racial Latina who has slowly been coming to terms with the fact that she is, in fact, part of that asexual “A” in LGBTQIA, the mass shooting in Orlando has left me with a lot of jumbled feelings. Most of those feelings are some shade of grief.

Losing myself in books has been one of my most successful coping strategies. In the wake of Orlando, I am feeling a renewed need for Latinx and/or LGBTQIA #ownvoices, especially since  both have been sparse on my reading list this year. So here are some links that I found helpful. Maybe you’ll find them helpful, too.

Book Lists

Websites

Donate

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Book Festivals!!

It’s finally spring and that means the beginning of book festival season! If you are a lover of books, like I am, you are sure to be there ready to buy some books, attend panels about everything from writing stories to discussing obscure book topics, and geeking out about meeting your favorite authors. Here are some upcoming festivals. Which ones are you going to?

 

yallwest

April 30 – May 1st
Santa Monica High School
601 Pico Boulevard
http://www.yallwest.com/

HCBF_logo_cmyk

May 7th
215 Harry Howard Ave
Hudson, NY Website: http://www.hudsonchildrensbookfestival.com/

 

 

 

 

 

beaMay 11-13
McCormick Place
Chicago, IL
http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/

 

 

 

 

bookcon

 

May 14
McCormick Place,
Chicago, IL

https://www.thebookcon.com/

 

 

 

logo-lealaMay
Los Angeles Convention Center.
1201 S. Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.lea-la.com/

 

gaithersburg

May 21,
Gaithersburg City Hall
Gaithersburg, MD
www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org

 

 

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